A wise man once said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your unguarded thoughts.”
~ The Buddha
I want to share with you an important “Now Moment,” the short action-oriented pieces that come at the end of most of the chapters in The Now Effect. This little instruction can be enormously helpful in bringing to light how to gain freedom from thinking and since thinking can be our number one bad habit, often launching us into increased stress or downward spirals of automatic negative thinking; it’s a good thing to loosen our grip on.
A while ago I walked into a particular publisher and saw every title of their upcoming books having “mindfulness” in the title and I was concerned that it was getting watered down. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As of today, mindfulness has evolved within America and has the potential to have a greater influence than we had ever imagined. Leaders around the country are implementing it in early child development, the military, education, politics, neuroscience, medicine, healthcare, business, the prisons, at-risk youth, and of course, psychotherapy. In this post I’m going to highlight a few key things that are happening that you may want to know about and how our culture is ripe for a second wave of mindfulness.
How we start the morning often sets the stage for how the rest of the day unfolds. Of course life throws us curve balls in the middle of the day, maybe you get a stressful email or someone rear ends you with their car or you lost that deal that you were looking forward to. Anything can happen in the present moment, but how we start our day can often affect how we greet those challenges.
Here are four tips to start your day that will help you with the inevitable ups and downs that you get handed.
Whether this is your first time you’re coming here or you’ve been around for the almost four years I’ve been writing The Mindfulness and Psychotherapy column, I want to share a personal moment of gratitude and say “Thank You” for being a part of this community. This was a big year for this column, it will become 4 years old and is also the year that The Now Effect and Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler hit bookshelves. Now it’s my turn to give you some gifts of my favorite Top 10 posts of the year. In these posts you’ll read about the power of mindfulness, the importance of self-compassion in healing, the upside to embracing dark emotions, how to be alone, why multitasking is ineffective, many short practices and much more.
May they bring you a sense of insight, ease, peace and freedom. Enjoy!
Many of us grew up reading Dr. Seuss. If you have kids, you’ve likely relived your childhood reading over his books only to find, “Wow, there’s some real wisdom in these books.” One book that has grown on me over time as an adult is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It brings you through all the experiences in life: the triumphs, the doubts, the confusions, the depressions, the fearful moments and the moments you stare your difficulties in the face and overcome them.
There are also several other notable books: Yertle the Turtle, Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax. The list is endless.
Here are 7 Life Lessons from Dr. Seuss:
Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
One of my favorite songs of all time is Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” It’s an incredibly moving and powerful song about taking a good, hard, authentic look at ourselves to say that we are all active participants in our own health and well-being and the health and well-being of this world we live in.
If you have five minutes, press play, close your eyes, listen to the words and enjoy:
For those of you who don’t know Sharon Salzberg, she is one of America’s leading mindfulness teachers and authors and has played a significant role in bringing mindfulness and the practice of lovingkindness to all of us in the Western world. She is co-founder of one of America’s premier meditation centers, Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, and is the author of many books and CDs, including her classic “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness,“ and her newest work, “Real Happiness.”
Today Sharon talks to us about the power of Lovingkindness, how to relate to difficult people, and some thoughts moving forward.
Elisha: Sharon, in your classic book “Lovingkindness,” you begin by saying, “Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and to feel connected with others. Instead, we often contract, fear intimacy, and suffer a bewildering sense of separation. We crave love, and yet we are lonely. Our delusion of being separate from one another, of being apart from all that is around us, gives rise to all of this pain. What is the way out of this?” Sharon, can you give us a glimpse into how you guide people out of their loneliness?
Throughout the course of 2012 in Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, we have interacted around topics on mindfulness, neuroscience, stress and media, Facebook, the Negativity Bias, addiction, technology, resiliency, parenting and so much more.
Thank you for all your wonderful interactions, here’s a chance to give back to you.
Here are the Top 10 Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Posts in recent months. Feel free to bookmark and come back to again and again:
The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in America, and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline, just settled a case with the federal government to pay $3 billion for health fraud. One billion will cover criminal fines and $2 billion will cover civil settlements.
This isn’t the first landmark case. In 2009, Pfizer paid the government $2.3 billion for health care fraud. This raises important questions and concerns about how we individually and culturally have been influenced by these companies and how awareness can help us see healthier choices to some of life’s afflictions.
There’s a funny print cartoon that has a man and woman sitting on the couch staring at a TV screen and the caption below reads, “It’s 12 O’clock, do you know where your mind is?” As time goes on and we grow up from children to adolescents to adults, for many of us, somewhere along the way, life begins to become routine.
Day in and day out whether we’re walking, driving, talking, eating, going to the grocery store, or being with our families, our minds get kicked onto auto-pilot and continue to develop their habitual ways of thinking, interpreting, expecting, and relating to other people. These habits of the mind can keep us stuck in stress, anxiety, depression, or even addictive behaviors..
Here are a few habits of the mind and a mindfulness practice to help you break out of auto-pilot and gain more control over your life.
The Now Effect lays out some Common “Mind Traps” that are not effective for well-being: